For the first time in the event’s history, organisers of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2014 are introducing a $60k (AED220,380) prize pot for the short course, further fuelling the competitive nature of the spectacular season opener.
This year’s men’s and women’s elite short course will see Ironman 70.3 champions and ITU medallists unite in the quest to come out on top and take home the $15k (AED55,000) first place prize at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon on 15 March.
Last year’s short course champion, Alistair Brownlee, will compete against his brother, 2012 World Champion Jonathan Brownlee, as well as some of the sport’s top triathlete’s in the men’s short course. Others to watch include two time ITU winner and 2004 Olympian Greg Bennett and professional Egyptian triathlete and UAE crowd favourite Omar Nour.
Nour turned professional in 2010 largely thanks to major sponsorship that he was able to secure in the UAE where the athlete is incredibly maretable due to his popularity in the country.
Commenting ahead of the event, Bennett said; “This will be my first time racing at Abu Dhabi so I don’t really know what to expect but from what I have heard the course is amazing but one to respect with the heat and unique distances. This year’s elite short course includes some of the world’s most talented triathletes, including the brilliant Brownlee brothers and so it’s definitely going to be a challenging and exciting season opener.
“My wife, (two-time Olympian) Laura is also competing in the event, in the women’s elite short course, and so we’ve both been pushing and motivating each other during training.”
Three times British Duathlon Champion Mark Buckingham, will also compete for a podium finish, hoping his bike and run prowess give him an advantage once out of the water.
The women’s elite start list is similarly strong with four times ITU medallist, and Greg's wife, Laura joined by Australian multi ITU medallist Annabel Luxford and five-time French champion Jessica Harrison set to take on the championship course.
Luxford, who placed third at the WTC Professional 70.3 World Championship and achieved five 70.3 podium finishes, said: “I can’t wait to compete in the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, tackling one of the world’s most picturesque courses.
"Ahead of the race I’m heading out to the Emirates to train and acclimatise to the weather to ensure I’m in peak condition for the event.”
The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon has three course distances; the 223km ‘long course’ (3km swim, a 200km cycle and 20km run), the half-length ‘short’ course (1.5km swim, a 100km cycle and a 10 km run) and the sprint course (750m swim, a 50km bike and 5km run). Both the ‘short’ and the ‘sprint’ can be run as a team relay.
Organisers have frozen athlete registration fees for the fifth year in a row and athletes interested in entering should visit www.abudhabitriathlon.com.
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